VR-Zone have once again got their hands on a nice scoop: Intel are reported to have chosen to abandon their internal graphics solutions for its 32nm Atom platform (Cedar Trail) and replace them with a PowerVR SGX545 graphics core (presented by us here).
Of course, this won’t be the first time that Intel has used external graphics IPs but up until now the manufacturer has restricted their use to very specific segments. The Atom Z500 and Z600 both used “GMA 500/600s” in their time, which were in fact PowerVR 535s (clocked at 200 MHz and 400 MHz respectively). Atom Zs were reserved exclusively for ultra-mobile segments such as smartphones or other concepts (MIDs) pushed by Intel at one time or another. Atoms designed for Netbooks and desktop products used a GMA 3150 chip developed by Intel and which is in fact quite an old graphics core used on Intel’s G33 chipsets. This core only included DirectX 9 support, which was a problem in comparison to the competition which used AMD APUs as we have previously noted.
Another addition remarked on by VR-Zone is HDMI 1.3a and DisplayPort 1.1 support. Previously Atom platforms were limited to VGA, so this is a positive development.
This drastic change in direction from Intel is of course related to the new competition introduced by AMD with its APUs, such as the Brazos
platform which does particularly well in comparison with the GMA3150
. In itself, moving over to the PowerVR SGX545 chip seems a good thing in purely hardware terms, but it remains to be seen how the question of drivers will be resolved. You may recall, GMA 500/600 support wasn’t necessarily exemplary in Windows. With deployment across the Atom range, it goes without saying that Intel will be going all out on this point. There must also be question marks over Intel’s longer term strategy with the acquisition of Silicon Hive in February
, a company that also develops graphics IPs for mobile solutions.